Monday, October 31, 2016

Trick or Treat

Here it is, October 31st, Halloween.  Today is an extremely warm, sunny and windy day for Colorado.  The year that I lived in North Dakota, it snowed on Halloween.  The snow did not stop the children from trick-or-treating.

Tonight, the children will be going from house to house asking for treats such as candy.  I enjoy seeing all the little children dressed in various costumes from being a princess, superman, Captain America, ninja turtle, etc.

It was interesting reading about trick-or-treating.  The term, the "trick" is a threat to perform mischief on a home if the owner does not give the person a "treat".  I have my candy and Halloween hat ready.

I read that trick-or-treating has been a Halloween tradition in the United States since the late 1920s. In Britain and Ireland, this has been a tradition since at least as far back as the 16th century.  In the 19th century in Britain and Ireland, people dressed in costumes would go from home to home reciting verses in exchange for food and warning of misfortune if they were not welcomed.  

The custom of trick-or-treating on Halloween comes from the belief that supernatural beings, or the souls of the dead, roamed the earth at this time and needed to be appeased.  At least as far back as the 15th century, among the Catholics, they would visit homes and take soul cakes(to represent the dead or to pray for their souls).  

It is amazing to see how these traditions came about.  The United States have borrowed these customs from other countries across the Atlantic.  Here we are in 2016 and these customs are still being practiced.

Be careful of the goblins and enjoy your evening!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Being Courageous

It always amazes me how God speaks to people!  He can speak audible or through other people or circumstances.

Last night I enjoyed watching the Hallmark Channel.  Christmas movies have already started. This movie was about this young lady who worked for a marketing company.  She assisted everybody and came up with some great marketing proposals, but she never got credit for anything.  Since this was a Christmas movie, Santa was in it and he asked her what one thing she wished for.  Her wish was to have courage and confidence and to speak up.  Her wish was granted and for 48 hours she had the courage she needed to speak up.  She learned that she always had the courage, but she needed to believe in herself.

This morning in church, the pastor spoke about how God gave Joshua his commission to "be strong and very courageous".  So often we allow fear to stop us from having courage.  What do we fear in life?  Fear of the unknown; having financial difficulties; losing our jobs;someone is going to tell us "no"; the economy; etc.  So how can we have courage during these times?

The pastor spoke about living a life of faith.  That God is powerful; God is personal and God is always with us.

God does have a plan for our lives, even when we don't think He does.  Jeremiah 29:11 says "for I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Romans 8:28 says "and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

These two verses are verses that give me hope and courage to handle the circumstances that stop me from not being courageous.  I want to live wholeheartedly; to "step-out and to shine through".

This week, think about being courageous and think about what things you fear.  Be brave!  God will give you the confidence and courage that you need.  You just need to ask Him!


Saturday, October 29, 2016

Portland & Seattle

Happy Saturday!  I got home last night after traveling all week to Portland and Seattle.  Another good week of training beauty consultants.

On Monday, flying into Portland, Oregon, I was able to see Mt. Hood.  Snow is already covering the mountain.  Mt. Hood is at the elevation of 11, 250 feet.  It is currently an active stratovolcano in the Cascade Volcanic Arc of northern Oregon.  It is the highest mountain in Oregon and is well known for snow-skiing in the winter and for hiking during the summer. 

Tuesday evening, the account executive and I drove to Seattle,Washington, which is about 3 hours north of Portland.  It rained most of the way.  The leaves have definitely turned and the colors were spectacular.  Everyone said that the colors were more vibrant a week ago.  The colors consisted of gold, yellow, red, and a pink magenta.

There is a lot to do in Seattle.  A must see is the Pike Place Market.  It is a public market overlooking the Elliott Bay waterfront and it is one of the oldest continuously operated public farmers' markets in the United States.  Fresh fish is brought in everyday, as well as the farmers bringing in seasonal produce, preserves and bouquets of fresh flowers.

The World's Fair was held in Seattle in 1962.  The motto was "living in the space age".  Almost 10 million people attended this fair. 

Mt. Rainier, the highest mountain(14,409 feet) is the highest mountain of the Cascade Range of the Pacific Northwest and can be seen driving through Seattle.  

The Pacific Northwest is definitely another beautiful area of the United States.

Mt. Hood

Raining in Seattle

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Irena Sendler

It is a beautiful Sunday!  Another crisp morning with the sun shining all day.

I began my day by attending church.  The teaching really touched me today.  It was about "Being Available".  The pastor stated "that God makes himself available to us.  He makes the riches of his grace and his abundant blessing available to us so we might make ourselves available to others. There's a world of people all around us who need us, and when we make ourselves available to them, God makes our lives meaningful".

The pastor talked about how Jesus made himself available to the leper man; available to the Roman Officer's servant; available to Peter's mother-in-law and available to so many other people.

Being available is rewarding, but it is also exhausting, hard work and sometimes puts us in risk of losing our own life.

Just this week, I heard a story about a Polish nurse and social worker who served in the Polish Underground in German-occupied Warsaw during World War II.

She smuggle approximately 2,500 Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto and then provided them with false identity documents and shelter outside the Ghetto, saving those children from the Holocaust.  

She was an employee of the Social Welfare Department and was able to enter the Ghetto to check for signs of typhus and conduct other inspections of sanitary conditions.  Sendler and her coworkers smuggled out babies and small children.  They were smuggled out sometimes in ambulances, potato sacks, tool kits, suitcases and other means.  

She and her co-workers buried lists of the hidden children in jars in order to keep track of their original and new identities.  The aim was to return the children to their original families when the war was over.

The German occupiers eventually discovered her activities and she was arrested by the Gestapo, tortured and sentenced to death.  Through all of this, she never betrayed any of her comrades or the children that escaped.  Her friends saved her life by bribing the guards on the way to her execution.

After the war, she and her co-workers gathered all of the children's records with the names and locations of the hidden Jewish children.  However, almost all of the children's parents had been killed at the camp or had gone missing.

She lived in Warsaw for the remainder of her life, until she died on May 12, 2008 at the age of 98.  

This is a woman who was "available" and was willing to pay the price so that others could live and have a meaningful life.

I am making myself available!  Will you?

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Indian Summer

Another beautiful Saturday!  This morning the temperature was in the 30s and by two o'clock this afternoon the temperature was in the 80s.

October has been spectacular with the fabulous weather and the outstanding fall colors!  I do believe we will get through October without snow.

I would say that this month has been an Indian summer.  This is a period of unseasonably warm, dry weather that occurs in the autumn.  The weather conditions have been sunny and clear with above normal temperatures.

I enjoyed several walks on this impressive warm, clear day.  As I walked around the neighborhood, I could hear this shrill cry in the distance.  As I got closer to a barren tree, I noticed a mother and infant hawk.  I stood in the distance so that I wouldn't disturb them.  The infant continued to squawk as the mother paid no attention to the infant.  It is amazing the enjoyment of listening to these hawks and such a peace of enjoying these birds that God has created.

It was a beautiful day to enjoy nature!

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Lesson of Pearls

Happy Friday!  This was my first Friday at home in a long time.  I spent the day going to the bank; booking doctor and eye appointments; going to the grocery store; filling up the car with gas; making phone calls; getting a massage, etc.

It has been a good day and a good week.  The one thing I have learned as I get older is that I need to go with the flow of the day.  I always have to remember that God is in charge of my day and not myself. I do make lists and plans on a daily and weekly basis.  It just helps me to keep focused on the tasks that I need to complete.  

Even though I have my list and plans, there are days that I don't complete anything on the list.  I have learned to make that okay.  God is pleased with how I manage my time, but He also is concerned with how I control my temperament.  How do I adjust to changes or to situations that don't turn out the way that I feel that they should?  What is my character like?

I once read a story about an oyster and its pearl.  I want to share that story so that you can see that "all things do work out for a reason".

"Pearls are the product of pain.  For some unknown reason, the shell of the oyster gets pierced and an alien substance--a grain of sand--slips inside.  On the entry of that foreign irritant, all the resources within the tiny, sensitive oyster rush to the spot and begin to release healing fluids that otherwise would have remained dormant.  By and by the irritant is covered and the wounds is healed--by a pearl.  No other gem has so fascinating a history.  It is the symbol of stress--a healed wound...a precious, tiny jewel conceived through irritation, born of adversity, nursed by adjustments.  Had there been no wounding, no irritating interruption, there could have been no pearl."

Every time I wear my pearl necklace, I know that the beauty of the necklace is due to the trials and circumstances that the oyster went through.

Next time you have a day that doesn't go the way that you wanted it to, just remember the story of the "pearl".

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Denver, State Capitol

This has been a short week for work this week.  I didn't have to fly anywhere.  I was able to drive into Denver, which is the state capitol of Colorado. The hotel where I had the event was close to the capitol. There were about 15 cosmetic consultants that attended this event.

Denver is only about 55 miles south of my home.  One of the attractions of Colorado that I enjoy seeing is the capitol.  The golden dome is one of the prominent features in Denver's skyline. The building is made from Colorado rose onyx, which is a type of stone so rare that all known reserves were used in the capitol's construction.  The capitol's original signature dome was made of copper, but was swapped out for gold in 1908 due to the copper's tendency to oxidize.  Also the gold was added to commemorate the Colorado Gold Rush.

The capitol was constructed in the 1890s and was opened in November of 1894.  The capitol sits at exactly one mile above sea level.

When you are in Denver, there are several things to do besides visiting the capitol.  There is the Denver Mint, Denver Art Musuem, Union Station, Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception(picture attached) and the Molly Brown House.  Molly Brown was known as "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" because she survived the sinking of the Titanic.  She was also a philanthropist, socialite and activist.

If you have never been to Colorado, you need to put this state on your list to visit.  Make sure you tour the capitol and the other sites.  Also, you need to venture out of Denver and go south towards Pike's Peak or north to the Rocky Mountain National Park.  You will not be disappointed on your visit.  And you will understand why Colorado is one of the fastest growing states in the country.

Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Full Moon

This morning as I laid wide awake at about 4:30, I could see outside and I noticed it was light enough to read. I crawled out of bed and I peaked out the window and I could see a full moon.  It was so big and white.  The light from the moon was reflecting off the galvanized table.

I laid in bed for about another hour and then decided it was time to get up.  I turned on the coffee and sat in my rocker and looked out the big glass window that looks out into the wetland area.  I was in awe of the moon.  It is not everyday that one can see such a beautiful sight.

As I thought about the full moon, it is always amazing to me what God has created and how everything is in place.  To think that the full moon occurs each month when the sun, earth and moon line up, with the moon on the opposite side of the earth to the sun.  It is at this time that the earth-facing side of the moon is completely lit up by sunlight.  This is so powerful.

As I looked at the moon, I thought of the movie, "It is a Wonderful Life".  George Bailey told Mary, "What do you want, Mary?  Do you want the moon?  If you want it, I'll throw a lasso around it and pull it down for you.  Hey.  That's a pretty good idea.  I'll give you the moon, Mary."  George would have been able to lasso this moon.

As the sun began to come up, the moon was still shining bright in the west.  I put on my tennis shoes and headed out into the 40 degree temperature to get in my steps.

The sunrise was as beautiful as the moon.  May your Sunday be as blessed as mine!

"O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!  You have set your glory above the heavens."  Psalms 8:1

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Cincinnati & Indianapolis

It was a busy week with airports, hotels and presentations.

Monday morning, I flew to Cincinnati, Ohio.  It was a beautiful day.  I sat next to the window on the plane and I noticed that we flew along the Ohio River as we got closer to Ohio.   I noticed the barges and power plants and I thought about the first pioneers that came along this river.  I googled the Ohio River and found out that the pioneers built flatboats and canoes to travel down the river.  The Revolutionary War was over and the Constitution was being written and settlers wanted to venture out into the unknown and go west and to begin new lives.

The Ohio River is 981 miles long, starting at the confluence of the Allegheny and the Monongahela Rivers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and ending in Cairo, Illinois, where it flows into the Mississippi River.  The Ohio River flows through six states:  Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.  There are 20 dams on this river.

I arrived in Cincinnati and went straight to the hotel to get ready for the next day.   Twenty four consultants attended the seminar on Tuesday.

I did not have time to sight-see in Cincinnati.  One of the main attractions is the Museum Center at Union.  This was originally the Cincinnati Union Terminal, which was built in 1933.  After the decline of railroad travel, most of the building was converted to other uses and is now a museum, theater and a library.  The Cincinnati Reds were the first professional baseball team.

Wednesday morning, I drove to Indianapolis, which was a 2 hour drive.  Arrived at the hotel and made some phone calls, etc.   The training seminar was on Thursday.

Indianapolis is home of the state capitol of Indiana.  I was told that I needed to come back and visit the capitol as well as the Indianapolis 500 Museum.  The Indianapolis 500 is an automobile race held annually.  The first auto race held here was in 1911.  The theme at the Indianapolis airport was the Indy 500.

Indianapolis is also the home of the Indianapolis Colts(football) and Indianapolis Indians(baseball).

As I travel to these different cities, I always like to read about the cities and to find out what the main attractions are.  Just like people, every city has it's own personality.  This is a great way to learn about the other cities throughout the United States.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Our Lives are like the Seasons

On my walk today as I looked at the snow on the mountains in the distance and I observed the various colors of the trees where I walked, I thought about how our lives are like the different seasons.

It is October and the season that I am enjoying is autumn.  During this season, the leaves are changing colors and dropping off the trees and crops and fruits are being harvested.  This is my season to reflect on the past months and to begin to get ready for winter which is only weeks away.

I enjoy the fall season with the cool nights and warm days.  It is a season that people are back on schedules.  When I think of fall, I also think of football and Thanksgiving(a time of giving thanks). Autumn reminds me of when my life is going smoothly without any major issues.  It is a time to enjoy!

As I looked at the snow on the mountains, I know that winter is only weeks away.  Winter means colder weather, snowy days and shorter days of light.  The holidays that I think of during the winter months are Christmas, New Year's Eve and Valentine.  Winter months can also mean a time to slow down. Sometimes during the winter months, we feel alone, depressed and we begin to wonder if it will ever be warm again.

Just like there will always be different seasons(fall, winter, spring & summer), there will also be different seasons in our own lives. Each of the seasons allow us to look and think about our journey in life.  

A verse came to mind from Ecclesiastes 3:1 - "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven."  The footnote for this verse said, "timing is important.  The secret to peace with God is to discover, accept and appreciate God's perfect timing.  The danger is to doubt or resent God's timing.  This can lead to despair, rebellion or moving ahead without his advice."

Whatever you may be going through, know that there is a time for everything.  During this time, allow God to give you the wisdom and insight that you need to enjoy each of the seasons.  These seasons were designed for a reason.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Joy vs. happiness

Yesterday, I talked about encouraging others.  Today, my thoughts are on joy vs. happiness.

Mr. Webster says that joy is "a feeling of great happiness; success in doing, finding or getting something; a source or cause of delight".  Happiness is "the state of being happy".  Happy is "feeling pleasure and enjoyment because of your life, situation, etc.".

Joy is so much more than being happy.  One can have joy even during hard-times. To me joy is lasting.  It is knowing that God is in control and that He will be with me even during difficult times. Happiness is temporary because it is based on external circumstances.

As I was researching joy, I came across some quotes:

"Focus on the journey, not the destination.  Joy is found not in finishing an activity, but in going it."

Mother Teresa stated that "joy is prayer; joy is strength, joy is love; joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls".

In the book of James 1:2-3, "consider it pure joy my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance."

So often we ask people are you happy?  Maybe the true question is "do you feel joy in your life"?

With so much negative going on around us, I feel that people are forgetting to find the joy in their lives.  There are so many things that I need to feel joyful about, such as my health, my job, my family, that I can walk, that I can see, that I can hear, etc.  It is the little things in life.  So often, people feel that they need to be financial wealthy, they need to drive a certain car, they need a designer handbag, live in a mansion and the list goes on, before they find happiness.

My prayer is that people will find the joy that will give them life and not a temporary happiness that will only last a moment!

Friday, October 7, 2016


It has been great to be at home today!  This morning, I was able to have some quiet time and to reflect on my surroundings and life.  I had time to have lunch with a friend that I hadn't seen in a while. It was a day of taking care of personal things.  It was a good day!

Since I am a thinker, I had time to think. I came across this statement, "call me crazy, but I love to see other people happy and succeeding!  Life is a journey, not a competition."   As I thought about this statement, I thought of who have I "encouraged" to be happy and to succeed.  Encouragement is such a powerful word.  Webster says encouragement is "something that makes someone more determined, hopeful or confident; something that makes someone more likely to do something."

Life should be about encouraging each other.  We sometimes think that life is all about us, but it is actually about helping others.  Are you making a difference in someone else's life?

I want to share this story of a young boy who made a difference.

"A couple took a trip to the beach to get away from everyone and everything and to relax.  That evening a storm came up and it was lightening, thundering and the waves were hitting against the dunes.  Listening to the storm, the husband began to think of his own stormy life of demands and pressures.

The next morning, the man got up to walk along the beach and noticed that the beach was covered with starfish that had been thrown ashore and were helplessly stranded by the great waves.  He knew that once the morning sun burned through the clouds, the starfish would dry out and die.

As he walked, he noticed a young boy ahead and he was picking up the starfish, one at a time and was throwing them back into the ocean.

When the man got closer to the boy, he asked him "Why are you doing this?  Can't you see that one person will never make a difference--you will never be able to get all those starfish back into the water.  There are just too many."

"Yes, that's true," the boy said as he bent over and picked up another and tossed it into the water.  Then as he watched it sink, he looked at the man, smiled and said, "But I made a difference to that one."

As I read this story, I thought of all the people in the world and if I could encourage one person to be the best that they could be, then I could make a difference.

There will always be more people to encourage or to listen to,  We can't feel that there are too many to help, so we will not help anyone.

I encourage you, to encourage someone.  Make a difference!  Is there someone you know who is going through hard times; having marital problems; having problems at work or at school, etc.?

Be a friend and speak words of life.  You could make a difference!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Hurricane Matthew

It has been another wild week.  On Tuesday afternoon, I flew to Orlando to do a seminar on Wednesday.  After the seminar, I was planning to stay with some friends for a few days.  On my flight to Orlando, I was watching the television in-flight.  I started watching the Weather Channel and the meteorologists were discussing the path of Hurricane Matthew.  They were discussing how it would approach Florida's east coast by late Thursday afternoon.  

As I landed in Orlando that evening, I knew that I needed to change my plans and that I needed to fly out Thursday morning.  I contacted an United representative and I was told that there would be an 8:25 a.m. flight and there were seats available.  

I have lived through 2 hurricanes and escaped from another hurricane in the past 11 years.  

In September 2005, four weeks after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Hurricane Rita was headed towards Galveston and Houston, Texas.  With all the damage that Katrina did to New Orleans, Houston residents did not want to stay for Rita.  My husband, mother-in-law and I got out of Houston as fast we could and drove to Austin to stay with family.  Rita did not hit Houston directly, but it hit the Texas/Louisiana border, which is east of Houston.   Hurricane Rita was one of the fiercest storms on record.  Hurricane Rita did achieve a Category 5 status, but weakened to a Category 3 before it hit the Texas/Louisiana coast.

Hurricane Ike hit Galveston and Houston on September 13, 2008.  This was a Category 2 hurricane with one of the greatest storm surge ever seen.  My husband and I stayed for this hurricane.  I can remember the day before the hurricane winds hit our area.  It was a beautiful, clear, calm day.  We spent the day removing furniture and potted plants from outside.  I had the television on all day, tracking the storm and listening to the meteorologist.  Around 1 a.m., as I sat in front of the television, you could hear the roaring of the strong winds, at least 70 mph.  One minute the lights and all electrical items were on and the next minute there were no electricity(no lights, no television, etc).  All you could hear was the whistling of the wind, tree branches and rain hitting the windows and branches falling.  I slept in the coat closet under the stairs that night.  After about six hours, the wind began to died down and my husband and I were able to go outside to see what damage there was. Branches from the tall pine trees covered the yard and driveway.  Trees had fallen.  It was such a mess.

That afternoon we began to clean up around the house and neighborhood.  Two weeks later, our electricity was back on.   

On October 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy hit Long Island, New York. Sandy had started out as a Category 3 and then weakened to a tropical storm and then restrengthened to a Category 1 hurricane before it hit Long Island. The storm surge hit New York City, flooding streets, tunnels and subway lines.  I was living on the North Shore of Long Island when Sandy hit.  I had friends and family visiting me from Texas a few days before.  They were able to get out on one of the last flights back to Texas before La Guardia airport was closed.  Since I had already survived Hurricane Ike, I knew that to be prepared for this hurricane, I needed to have my car filled with gas, get cash and water. After Hurricane Sandy hit, 90% of the island did not have electricity.  Fortunately this time, I was part of the 10%.

I was able to get out of Orlando this morning.  The airport was very busy with people trying to get out before the airport closed.

As I sit here and type, I am thankful to be in my home in Colorado.  I am praying for my friends in Orlando and asking for God's angels to protect them during this time! 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Knoxville, Tennessee

What a week!  Last Monday, I flew from Denver to Knoxville, Tennessee.  When the plane landed, it was raining.  Got a taxi to the hotel. After I checked in, I went to set-up for the presentation for the next day.  As I turned on my computer, I realized that the computer wasn't operating properly.  After about 15 minutes on the phone with the "help desk", the conclusion was that my computer had crashed and that I needed to send it in to be worked on.  Definitely not the direction that I wanted to go.

I got the computer wrapped up and boxed to be sent back to be worked on.  I finished setting up the room for the next day.  After all of this, I decided it was time to explore Knoxville.

Knoxville is an impressive city.  It reminded me a lot of Austin, Texas back in the late 60s and early 70s.  Austin is no longer a small city!

Knoxville was first settled in 1786 due to the Tennessee River that runs through the city.  Knoxville was the first capital of Tennessee.  The current population is around 186,000.

Downtown Knoxville is less than one square mile.  The downtown area is filled with several retail establishments, residential buildings, the city's convention center and some great restaurants, such as Tupelo Honey Cafe.  This cute restaurant is located in the historic Market Square. The food is fresh, southern dishes.  The finger-licking chicken and homemade buttery biscuits melted in my mouth.

Knoxville is the home of the University of Tennessee.  They are known as the "vols".  The enrollment is approximately 28,000.  I took the trolley around the campus and I enjoyed seeing the stadium and the buildings.

Knoxville is the gateway to the Great Smoky National Park; as well as the home of the Women's Basket Hall of Fame.

In 1982, Knoxville hosted the World's Fair.  The theme of the fair was "Energy Turns the World". President Reagan opened the fair on May 1, 1982.  The 1982 Fair was the last successful World's Fair held in America and the first ever in the South.

If you haven't been to Knoxville, you need to put it on your list.  It is a great city to tour and enjoy the hospitality of the locals.